Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

The best of Black Hat: The consequential, the controversial, the canceled

Taylor Armerding | July 19, 2017
Over the past two decades, the annual Black Hat conference has had its share of controversy. CSO looks back at the most significant talks and demonstrations.

He concluded with a definition of realpolitik: “What is successful is right and what is unsuccessful is wrong, that there is no moral dimension in how the world is, and that attempting to govern based on principles cannot succeed. Realpolitik is at once atheistic and anti-utopian. “I find that distasteful,” he said.

Good thing.


“Keynote: A story about Digital Security in 2017” – Richard Clarke, 2007

A decade ago, the former chief counter-terrorism adviser on the U.S. National Security Council for portions of both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, took a shot at predicting the digital world of today. It hasn’t turned out that way yet – one of them was on a project to reverse engineer the human brain. “You might be able to add memory to the brain as easily as to laptop today. If you can add memory, you can download it, and if you can download it, maybe that memory will outlive the person.”

Not yet, but the core of his message – that the astounding progress and benefits of the convergence of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology, robotics and pharma is, “based on assumption – the same assumption we base our economy on today – that cyberspace is secure. And it’s not – I don’t need to tell you,” he said.

He said that would require much better authentication and encryption – things on which there have been progress, but not enough to defeat cyber criminals and nation state hacking and espionage.

Clarke, now chairman of Good Harbor Consulting, didn’t hesitate to get political, with most of the venom aimed at Bush. He said the former president and his staff were against the kind of genetic engineering that could, “enhance the human brain – the human being. “When you see some of their cabinet members, you know why,” he said, arguing that a debate over, “what it means to be human” will be happening in 20 years, “and we need to start thinking about it now.”


“The Battle for Free Speech on the Internet” – Matthew Prince, 2015

It has been said many times that the First Amendment exists to protect what many consider reprehensible or offensive speech, since popular, inoffensive speech needs no protection. Matthew Prince, wunderkind entrepreneur and CEO of CloudFlare, which accelerates and protects Web content, told the Black Hat audience that philosophy needs to guide companies like his that facilitate, and to some extent control, web content.

He said early on they grappled with their, “role as a provider. Were we going to be the content police – take things off the Internet because we judge them to be bad – or be the anarchists who say all content is good and leave things up no matter what? Or is the right line between those places?”


Previous Page  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.